Go Forth and Multiply: Changes in the Timing of Marriage and Childbearing among Young Amish Women

Elizabeth Cooksey, Ohio State University
Joseph F. Donnermeyer, Ohio State University

Using data from two large Amish communities in Ohio, we examine patterns of marriage and motherhood among young Amish women. Marriage and parenthood are often viewed as key markers of the transition to adulthood. This is especially so among the Amish where following formal schooling at 8th grade, Amish girls may work outside of the home before deciding to be baptized, marry and settle down to raise their own family. Rates of pre-marital conceptions and out-of-wedlock births have traditionally been low among the Amish. However, in recent decades the Amish have had to respond to social and economic changes in their way of living, which in turn might impact the transition to adulthood among Amish youth. We examine potential associations between different lifestyles of Amish families, and the timing of marriage in relation to that of motherhood across various birth cohorts of young Amish women across more than 50 years.

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Presented in Session 114: Values, Attitudes, and the Family